Frequency, Time Period and Amount of Breastfeeds
How often should I breastfeed my baby
You should breastfeed your baby whenever
she is hungry. This is called demand feeding (as opposed to fixed time
feeding, say every 3 hours). However, in order to follow this pattern,
you should know that every time your child cries, it is not because of
hunger. Otherwise, you could be breastfeeding your child endlessly.
My baby keeps crying all the time, is she hungry
Breast milk is easily digested and
so the baby needs to be fed more often than her formula-fed counterpart.
However, this does not mean that breastfeeding is the solution to all your
baby's problems. If she begins to wail soon after a feed, keep in mind
that she may have a wet nappy, be feeling hot or cold, or just feel the
need to be burped or cuddled. If you have ruled out all these possibilities,
and she continues to cry, then feed her.
How long should a single feed last
This depends entirely on the baby.
Some babies finish feeding in five minutes, while others can take as long
as twenty minutes. There is no norm for how long a feed should last. Remember
that slow or fast, babies ingest the same amount of milk. Do not try to
hurry a slow feeder. Some babies may appear to be asleep, but will begin
to suckle as soon as the mother tries to move them away from the breast.
Let the baby take her time so she gets enough milk, including the rich
hindmilk so necessary for her energy levels.
Should I offer both breasts or only one breast
Babies need both foremilk (rich in
protein, lactose, vitamins, minerals and water) and hindmilk (rich in fat).
Foremilk quenches his thirst and hindmilk provides fat and calories.
That is why it is important that the baby be allowed to keep suckling from
one side till he gets the hindmilk and leaves the breast on his own. Only
then should he be offered the other breast. Babies allowed such freedom
often get satisfied by suckling only from one side. Remember that
you should alternate the side that you first offer with each feed to ensure
that you get an even supply of milk from both your breasts.
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